Philippines urges Malaysia to show restraint amid Borneo siege

March 05, 2013
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SEMPORNA, Malaysia – The Philippines urged Malaysia on Monday (March 4th) to demonstrate "maximum tolerance" toward dozens of Islamic Filipinos seeking a territorial claim on a remote area of Borneo Island following two deadly shootouts with security personnel, AFP reported.

  • Malaysian soldiers man a security checkpoint Sunday (March 3rd) in Semporna, near the stand-off with Sulu gunmen on Borneo Island. Locals began fleeing the area after a total of 27 people were killed in clashes between soldiers and gunmen. [AFP]

    Malaysian soldiers man a security checkpoint Sunday (March 3rd) in Semporna, near the stand-off with Sulu gunmen on Borneo Island. Locals began fleeing the area after a total of 27 people were killed in clashes between soldiers and gunmen. [AFP]

Convoys of armed vehicles moved toward affected areas of the state of Sabah after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak ordered strengthened security in the face of what is being described as the country's worst security crisis in years.

Schools, stores and government offices are closed in the town of Semporna, and local residents are fleeing, passing the bodies of gunmen in the streets. At least 27 people are reportedly dead, following skirmishes between Malaysian security personnel and followers of Jamalul Kiram III, the Philippines-based sultan of Sulu.

His followers say they are defending his claim to Sabah, which was once controlled by the now-defunct sultanate.

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A woman reacts outside Jakarta's Ritz-Carlton hotel on July 17th, 2009 after bomb blasts tore through it and the nearby JW Marriott. Two suspected Jemaah Islamiyah suicide bombers killed at least six people and injured more than 40 others. [Arif Ariadi/AFP]

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Southeast Asia has been both a source and a target of global terrorism. Al-Qaeda affiliates Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia and Malaysia and Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines are among regional groups that terrorise their home countries with bombings, ambushes,